Science and Tech


Majority Of Suicides Occur After Midnight, Study Finds

A new study concluded the majority of suicides take place between midnight and 4 a.m.
Posted at 3:27 PM, Jun 04, 2014

Suicides are much more likely to occur between midnight and 4 a.m. — this according to a new study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

"The study found that the suicide rate per hour rose more than 10 percent after midnight, peaking at 16 percent between 2 and 3 in the morning. And then at 6 in the morning, it dropped to 2 percent." (Via WWL-TV

In a press release, the lead researcher explained the importance of these findings. "This appears to be the first data to suggest that circadian factors may contribute to suicidality and help explain why insomnia is also a risk factor for suicidal ideation and behavior." (Via American Academy of Sleep Medicine)

Researchers looked at the National Violent Death Reporting System's data from more than 35,000 suicides. Run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the system helps states make decisions about how to prevent violence. 

WAOK reports researchers separated those suicides into time slots. "They then compared the suicides to the proportion of people awake at each hour."

Now, this isn't the first study to look at suicides and time of day. But Psych Central reports the researchers concluded previous studies claiming more suicides took place during the day didn't take into account the number of people awake at each given hour. 

Medical Daily says this study helps explain why people dealing with insomnia are at greater risk for suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Researchers believe this study proves treatment for insomnia might also lessen people's risk for suicidal ideas and behavior.

According to HealthDay, around 38,000 Americans die each year from suicide, which is the 10th-leading cause of death in the country. 

An abstract of the study was published in the journal Sleep.